What is meant by the Bodhisattva Mahasattva's range of association? Bodhisattvas Mahasattvas do not draw near to kings, princes, great ministers, or officials.
How are the places that a great Bodhisattva should draw near to defined?
What is meant by the Bodhisattvas Mahasattvas' range of association? Bodhisattvas Mahasattvas do not draw near to kings. They do not take advantage of situations in order to be able to draw near to kings; they don't try to curry favor and try to become friends with kings. That's called "seeking to be in favor with those in high positions." To socialize with kings is a form of opportunism. This also applies to
princes, great ministers, or officials. Bodhisattvas don't seek to get involved with those kinds of people. They don't interact with officials.
On the other hand, there are certain ways in which they may be involved that are appropriate. If such people, of their own accord, draw near to the Bodhisattva, without the Bodhisattva having sought out such people first, then it is permissible. For instance, if the Bodhisattva is in a monastery and does not have any intention of ingratiating himself with a king, and yet the king comes to the monastery to draw near to and bow to the Bodhisattva, then there's no problem. The Bodhisattva can speak appropriate Dharma for the king. That's what is meant by there being no fixed dharmas. You shouldn't be rigidly attached to this passage, saying, "Oh, the
Dharma Flower Sutra says that Bodhisattvas Mahasattvas who are cultivating should not associate with kings, princes, great ministers, or officials," so that if a king did come to pay his respects, you wouldn't even see him. That would also be incorrect. It is all right for such people to draw near to you. As long as you are not the one actively seeking to associate with them, it's okay. It's not all right for you to go to the king's quarters and say things like, "Ah! Today is your birthday; I've come to commemorate it. I'll recite the
Limitless Life Sutra to guarantee that you'll live long and never age." That's just being obsequious and is incorrect behavior. If you are residing in an aranya, a peaceful place for cultivation, and the king wants to approach you, then that's okay. However, you don't need to search for a method to induce the king to come. If you induce him to come by using some plan, then you are the one who is drawing near to him. You are thinking, "If the king were to come and bow to me, how great my fame would become! Or if the President came, ah!" It's not correct for you to scheme like this day and night.
Rather, you should seek a response. Seeking a response means asking Wei Tou Bodhisattva to go and tell the king to come. If you have cultivation, Wei Tou Bodhisattva sees you and thinks, "This Bodhisattva has nobody to protect him. I'll find a great Dharma protector to protect him." Then he finds a wealthy person to help you. This is acceptable. So, you should be clear about this principle.
They do not draw near to externalists—brahmacharins, nirgranthas, and the like—or to writers of worldly literature, to those who sing praises of externalist writings, to lokayatas, or to the opponents of lokayatas.
They do not draw near to externalists.
Bodhisattvas Mahasattvas only study the Buddhadharma. They absolutely do notdraw near to those of externalist ways, such as
who are ordained in an externalist sect. Nirgranthas are another
externalist way. At the time of the Buddha, there were six major
teachers of externalist ways in India, and as their teachings were
developed further by their disciples, there came to be ninety-sixsects.
And the like refers to those other sects. Nirgrantha translates as "apart from bonds." They were trying to attain liberation,
but they had not yet attained it. They were seeking to free themselves from bonds, but had not yet succeeded. They were one of
the externalist sects. Or to writers of worldly literature. This includes writers of worldly novels, plays, and movie scripts. It refers to those who write novels that incite people's desire. All of
these are considered worldly literature. They do not draw near
those who sing praises of externalist writings, delineating the
ways in which they think the externalist sects are good, or
to lokayatas. Lokayata is a Sanskrit word and is translated as "evil discourses." Today's letter from Sam Lewis is an example of
lokayata. Such discourses are not wholesome; they go on and on,
but contain no true principle. They teach people to create evilkarma. For example they say, "Taking more drugs will make your
enlightenment greater. By the same token, taking less drugs will
give you less enlightenment. Therefore, take more drugs." Notonly do such people encourage others to take drugs, they use
those drugs themselves. Such evil discourses enable the teacher to
defeat his disciples, because in them the teacher always appears to
have the loftier wisdom and in every way be better than his disciples. Whatever the disciples say is wrong; and even if they are
right, they are "wrong." Those who give such evil, unprincipled
discourses are called lokayatas.
to be continued